Monday, 27 October 2014

The Fault In Our Stars - Movie Review


          As the lights in the theatre faded to black and the opening scene for ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ began to run, I bit my lip. This was it. Like most people my age, I have had a deep love for the John Green novel ever since I had first read it. The book destroyed me, drowning me in tears as I read the last chapters. It had definitely left a lasting impression. I had been waiting for this movie for a long time. It meant something to me. It meant something to most every other teenager I knew. And that was why it was so important they got this right.

           Movie adaptations on the whole make me quite nervous. There are so many things that they can get wrong. I know I have to make exceptions -it must be difficult to fit every single page into the film - but the more they cut and paste and change, the lower my opinion plummets. I just get so angry paying to see a movie-adaptation of a book I loved so much and finding how unrecognizable it has become.
        Even if they do somehow manage to leave the plot line in its original form, I am still ridiculously hard to please. The setting and the characters have to be just so, otherwise the book will be ruined for me for a long time after. Seeing a movie-adaptation always manages to erase the idea of the characters that exists in my head and replace it with whatever brand-name ill-fitted actors that the director has chosen to sell more tickets. One single movie can change my whole perspective on the book, to the point where I can’t even remember what the character’s used to look like to me. When I read Harry Potter, it is Daniel Radcliffe I see, not the scruffy bespectacled kid that I had one been able to conjure up in my mind.
          However, with all that to consider, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ was perfect. It was beautifully shot; cleverly cast and did not miss a single scene. It was a wonderfully weird sensation to realise that the version of the book they had created was almost identical to the version of the book I had initially imagined at home. And after a deep discussion with a few other die-hard John Green fans it turned out that it was a close fit to their imaginations as well.

 When it was first announced, I had been apprehensive about the casting of soft-faced blonde, Ansel Elgort, for the part of Gus. But as I slipped easily into the first scenes of the movie, I realised that no other actor could have fit into the role quite as well. Elgort’s Gus was funny and charming and a sweet sort of handsome that he managed to show both on the inside and the out. It may just have been because I did not associate Elgort with any other movie but I really believed in his portrayal of Gus. I think that belief is one of the main reasons why my mascara was dripping off of the bottom of my face by the time the lights came up at the end of the show.

Even without having read the book, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is an enjoyably romantic film to watch. The story is made perfectly clear for those with no previous experience and the scenes are wonderfully romantic with only a subtle layer of cheese to satisfy the audience. The powerful emotions contained within ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ have been translated almost perfectly from book to movie. Though I cried more when reading the book, the movie still felt like a strong personal experience.

If you haven’t read or seen ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ yet, I do recommend that you read it first. As closely as the film reflects the book, I still think that the book tells a more emotionally compelling story and proves to be a more satisfying experience overall.

That said, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is easily one of the best movie adaptations that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. There was much concern surrounding the ridiculous expectations of the fans of the book, but ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ somehow managed to skyrocket way above its impossible hype and into a whole new galaxy of goodness. Despite my apprehension, I loved this movie almost as much as the book.

With gorgeous cinematography and a wonderfully selected cast of characters ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is a movie-adaptation that will simultaneously wreck you emotionally and warm you to the core. Without a doubt, if you were a fan of the book you’re going to love this.

Okay? Okay.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Defending Jacqueline Wilson

            I need to tell you something. It isn’t easy to say. I’ve been keeping a secret from you for quite some time now, and the guilt is becoming unbearable. It’s time you knew…

 I have read a total of 32 of Jaqueline Wilson’s books. I often re-read my favourites. I was addicted to ‘Cookie’ and I cried for days about ‘My Sister Jodie’. She has been one of my favourite authors for a long time now. There. I said it.

Ever since I found a copy of ‘The Bed and Breakfast Star’ at the bottom of our family bookshelf I was hooked. Having been read by each of my four brothers and sisters numerous times, the book was old and battered, but I loved it all the same. It was so different from the rest of my identical stories of dragons and fairies and painfully well-behaved children. I thought Elsa, the main character, was brilliant! She was bright and bubbly and got into lots of trouble. I had never met any homeless children before, but it never mattered to me one bit that her living situation was so different to mine – her being curly headed and hilarious, in my eyes we were practically the same.

For many years after that, I thrived off of Wilson. I became sensitive towards anyone with an unusual home life - understanding so much more about why I should show kindness to the people around me. I read all of what they had to offer in the school library, fighting with the other girls over who’s turn it was to take home ‘The Suitcase Kid’. My friends grew envious as every time my parents took me to the bookshop my collection grew larger and larger. It is majorly because of Wilson that I love reading as much as I do. She was the catalyst for this passion of mine

But as we all grew up at a startling speed, Wilson was cast out of our bookshelves for being too immature, leaving many near empty. Wilson was what children read - not practically-almost-adult preteens! I pretended I had rid myself of Wilson as well, embarrassed by the joyful nostalgia she brought me.    

There’s a big stack of her books in the corner of my bedroom that I always push behind the curtain when friends come around. I’m worried that the sheer size of my collection will alarm them. They may not be accepting of my unusual reading habits.

“Is that ‘Tracy Beaker’?!” They scoff in my imagination, before promptly leaving my house in disgust and texting everyone I know about my dirty little secret. I am left alone in my room, completely humiliated.

But should I really be ashamed? It’s quite unpopular at the moment to be a fan of Jacqueline Wilson. Readers have labelled her writing predictable, boring and childish and have turned their nose away in revulsion. I’m going to let you in on another little secret though: most of them are lying too!

I was recently at a female friend’s house and upon entering her room the first thing I did was scour her bookshelf for anything I hadn’t read. As my eyes wandered over the familiar John Green titles and the ‘Hunger Games’ hardbacks they landed upon something most surprising: ‘Lola Rose’ by Jacqueline Wilson. I pulled the book from its place with elation and grinned at my friend. She had a mini-collection of her own: ‘Vicky Angel’, ‘The Lottie Project’, ‘Double Act’; They were all here!

My friend went pink in the face and snatched the book from my hands, shoving it hastily into the back of her drawer. “I never did like that book. Jacqueline Wilson’s so boring!”

Oh really, dear chum? You think she’s boring? Is that why all these books are so battered and well-thumbed? You were so bored by her that you accidentally read all her books twelve times?

Much like high-school musical or Spongebob Squarepants, people don’t tell you they like Jacqueline Wilson because they are embarrassed that they will appear immature. She is something we were all meant to have outgrown years ago but never really did. We cannot deny that Jacqueline Wilson is good at what she does! Yes, her stories all seem to share themes of divorce and family troubles, but that doesn’t seem to stop children today from coming back for more. They’re warm and comforting books that taught most of us girls (females being her main audience) not only about the issues of children not as fortunate as ourselves, but also to love reading.

Though I do not read much Wilson anymore (finding myself unable to connect with the children in her stories so far from my own age), I refuse to stand up and say that I never liked her.  I did. We all did. So let’s stop all this shame and just stand up and say it.

‘I love Jacqueline Wilson and you all probably do, too!’

If you fancy reliving your old Jacqueline Wilson memories then why not go visit her website?
 Or if you completely disagree with me then be sure to tell me why! Either down in the comments, on my facebook page, or tweet me! 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Commitment Issues

I would like to think that ‘Prescription Fiction’ is a very friendly blog. I am extremely open to all your comments, tweets and suggestions and in fact encourage them! I am more than happy to answer almost any question or query that you may have and I would love to think of my blog as a small community. However, as a particularly passionate breed of bookworm, one of the worst questions anyone could ever ask me is this:
“What is your favourite book?”
     With those five simple words, every book I have ever read will fall out of my head and into a puddle around my feet. I will squirm and wriggle and say ‘Um…’ a lot, before finally shuffling away with an extremely anti-climactic ‘I don’t know’.
         The pressure of that question is too much to bear. The asker will always stare at you with a certain amount of expectation in their eyes, as if whatever it is that bursts out of your mouth next will determine their opinion of you for many years to come. If I say something like ‘The Lord of the Flies’ then they will probably give me an impressed nod and invite me to eat lunch with them, however, if I panic and say ‘Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging’ (I do love that book) then they will probably wrinkle their nose in disgust before exiling me from their life entirely. Probably.

            I don’t see why I should have to choose a favourite book at all. I simply cannot commit to one when there is so much choice out there. It is simply ridiculous that I should have to let you make a snap decision about me based on whether I prefer Classics or Sci-Fi; romance or horror; ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ or ‘Winnie the Pooh’. I am not married to a single novel; I am having off-again, on-again affairs with more than twelve at once.

            My favourite book can be different every single day of the week. It entirely depends on what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m in quite an emotional mood, I’ll probably name ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ as my favourite and start endlessly chattering about boarding school in Paris. If I want to feel cool and mysterious, I might tell you that I love the symbolism in ‘The Catcher in the Rye'. If on a particularly reminiscent Tuesday, I am overtaken by nostalgia, I will tearfully tell you all about my mother’s beaten old copy of ‘Nancy and Plum’ that she was given in Sunday school as a child and ignore your confused expression when you don’t know what the hell I’m on about.

            In reality though, none of these books are my favourite. Or maybe they all are? I don’t really know and I don’t really think I should have to. When you think of me, I don’t want you to think of a miniscule 300 pages – I want you to think of an entire library!

            This is why I think that in the UK we should have a law that prohibits everyone from ever asking that dreaded question. I want David Cameron and stand up in the House of Commons and say that if one wants to enquire about another person’s taste in reading, then we must say ‘So what kinda books are you into, chum?’ or something of that variety.  I guarantee you that by doing this everyone in the UK will probably be invited to 70% more sleepovers. Probably.

            No more shall we have to stand sweating in front of a new acquaintance, wracking our brains for that one answer that will lead to a strong and beautiful friendship. No more will we fail to come up with that answer and instead try to avoid that person for the next month out of embarrassment. No more shall we have to run into them at our friend Keith’s party and awkwardly stand making our ridiculous excuses! No more, I say, no more!

            I do not have a favourite book. I have commitment issues.


Do you know your favourite book? Am I the only one with this issue?! Tell me down in the comments, I'd love to know! 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins Tag

Hello all! Today I am going to be doing the Seven Deadly Sins book tag! This lovely tag consists of seven deadly sins with seven deadly questions which I am going to answer for you today! I did not create this book tag; this tag was created by BookishlyMalyza on youtube. All that aside; let’s get started!

Greed - What is the most expensive book in your library, and what is the most inexpensive?
      I don’t tend to buy ridiculously expensive books. Most of my library is a second hand paperback, so it’s unusual for me to pay more than about £7 for a book (Which I believe to be fair book price). However, I did pay about £14 for my hardback copy of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, which, even though I have lost the dust cover for, was a bloody good buy.
        My most inexpensive book cost me a mere 52p from a Welsh hospice care and it is ‘The Sisters Club: The Rule of Three’. I shamelessly bought the children’s book only a couple of weeks ago. It’s the sequel to ‘The Sisters Club’, a book I have re-read over and over in the years since I got it. It's just so nostalgic and lovely for me and... for 52p, you can't really go wrong!

Wrath Which author do you have a love/hate relationship with?
     This is a difficult question because if I love a book, I tend to love it whole heartedly. My love/hate author would probably have to be Malorie Blackman. I absolutely loved ‘Noughts and Crosses’ as a stand-alone novel, it was exciting, thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and wonderful but I found the rest of the series far-fetched and quite frankly a bit... disappointing. My advice would be to read book one and leave it at that. It is difficult I think, once you've written an absolutely fantastic novel to continue on from there. 

Gluttony What book have you deliciously devoured over and over again, with no remorse whatsoever?
        I have read ‘Ember Fury’ by Cathy Brett a good number of times. It tells the tale of Ember Fury, the troubled daughter of a rock star. It’s visually awesome, with cool Gorillaz-esque illustrations everywhere and ever-changing fonts. It’s supposed to be a kids book but it’s a story I just love to get lost in over and over and over and over again. It makes me feel so cool to read that book because it's so darn angsty and I'm a sucker for great illustrations! All that and more keeps luring me back!

Sloth What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?
        Despite its various awards and all its hype, I still haven’t read ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness. It’s not that I haven’t tried, but the entire book it written in an unfamiliar slang that I just can’t get my head around. I’ve been told countless times that if you push through, you get used to the slang and swallowed up by the story, but I just never have the motivation to get anywhere further than page 12. I'm an awful reader in that if a book doesn't entice me within the first couple of chapters, chances are, I'll probably never get through it! 

Pride What book do you most talk about in order to sound like a very intellectual reader?
         When talking about books I do like to drop ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D. Salinger into conversation if I can. I do have a genuine love for the book and the fact that it’s a classic (not to mention the fact that it’s also John Green’s favourite) just makes me feel so cool when I talk about it. I’ve read the book a good number of times so I do know pretty much what I’m talking about… but I won’t deny that I love the impressed looks I get whenever I mention it. It's the book-equivalent of putting on a pair of ultra-cool black sunglasses and riding off on your motorbike into the sunset. 'Catcher In the Rye' is like the black and white photo filter. It makes you really, incredibly, deep.

Lust What attributes do you find most attractive in male or female characters?
    I love the combination of dark hair and an accent on a male protagonist. I know I can’t actually see the character, but if the writer lets me imagine they’re love interest as attractive, then I’ll love their book just that bit more. Otherwise, I like a good sense of humour, the ability to take control of a situation, a little bit of mystery and a cheeky bit of charm. Just think √Čtienne St. Clair from ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ or Four from ‘Divergent’. However, sometimes I can just fall in love with a love story as a whole and find a certain couple more attractive rather than a particular individual! For instance, in 'Eleanor and Park' I wanted Park to be with Eleanor way more than I wanted Park to be with me! 

Envy What books would you most like to receive as a gift?
          Well I still don’t own 'Lola and the Boy Next Door' by Stephanie Perkins so that would be a very welcome gift indeed. Otherwise, anything from the anime section really. I never buy myself any anime at all because it’s so darn expensive for what you get. An anime book of the same size as any other novel will tell a way smaller section of the story and will be finished way quicker. As a teenager I don’t have as much money to spend on books as others, so when I do buy a book I like to get good value for my money. I'm a bit of a cheapskate really! 

There we have it guys! The Seven Deadly Sins book tag! You’re very welcome to have a go at this on your own YouTube channel/blog/etc. Just make sure that if you do you do link back to the original content creator mentioned at the top of this post! 

I would like to tag:
 Tika over at fANGIRL confessions
Izzy from The Reading Izzy 
and Erin from The Hardcover Lover